Small Garden in front of house - ideas please!

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by camikins, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. camikins

    camikins Member

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    Location:
    victoria bc
    Hi,

    Just moved, and the previous house owners didn't do anything with the lawn or garden.

    The garden is very small, and I need some ideas. It's about 4 ft deep, in front of the house.

    I was thinking of something like having a small boxwood hedge, then lavender, then roses, to have 3 levels / layers to the garden.

    Any thoughts? Does this sound reasonable? I want to make sure there is some colour, and layers, while keeping the design simple.

    Oh - and any other suggestions besides boxwood for the hedging? The smaller the better, as space is at a premium. I'd like something tidy and compact that I can keep trimmed and shaped.

    Current house:
    http://plantsandbonsai.shutterfly.com/36

    (ignore what's currently growing there).

    My thought / design:
    http://plantsandbonsai.shutterfly.com/35

    Garden Size (top view)
    http://plantsandbonsai.shutterfly.com/34

    Garden Size (top view) with idea I had
    http://plantsandbonsai.shutterfly.com/33
     
  2. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Hi, I live in Victoria also. You know, I would develop your garden away from the foundation. That is usually a dry area, owing to perimeter drainage probably in place underground, creating a very dry powdery soil situation, usually. Also, it is shady owing the roof overhang just when you need sun. Yes, it's nice to have some things around your house close to the foundation and it does look as if some shrubs are there. Victoria has dry summers, making a dry area even more dry -- it looks as if your lot is quite sunny, and I think you would have several options for putting in a raised garden or not even a raised garden but a dug garden with some new soil, in a curved or oval shape or in two long curved ovals [one on each side of the pathway] closer to the front sidewalk -- the passers-by can then see it, and it will set off your house better. You might want to add a small ornamental tree to one side of your house... a not-too-large crabapple or other flowering one. You might want to take half of each side and make a diagonal line and create gardens on each side of that -- to reduce a rectangular look and add a softer line -- I am going to give you the title to a fabulous garden design book which would have ideas suited to your classic lot which is asking for something to reduce the linearity of the outlines of the house and turn it into a pretty showplace:

    Northwest Home Landscaping - including Western British Columbia, 2nd edition, by Roger Holmes & Don Marshall, published by Creative Homeowner, ISBN numbers for ordering are ISBN-10: 1-58011-322-2 and ISBN-13: 978-1-58011-322-9. I bought this book in Victoria or Sidney, in one of the major bookstores. It has planting plans for every shape of lot and sun exposure, plant lists best for this region, a section on the plants themselves and care and nurture, how to design and build low walls, walkways, pathways, etc., etc. It's wonderful.
     
  3. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Location:
    West Kootenay BC Canada
    Hi,

    I agree with Janet. If you plant your garden several feet out from your dry and shaded foundation bed you can create a small courtyard garden with privacy and you would have the bonus of being able to enjoy it from inside the house as well as approaching it. With a nice sunny lot you have endless choices in plants and vines, low walls, trellises and pots.
     
  4. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    I am glad someone spoke up, out there -- one can make so many mistakes with a first or second garden, I did, and the new or relatively new gardener wonders why it is so "hard" when things don't work out. That is what I thought of after I signed out, above, too, that the new householder wouldn't see the new garden from the windows if it was too close to the house, and passers-by wouldn't see it from the street, so who would see it? You want to be able to enjoy it from your windows and have it visible from the street! Do get the book, it is a lifesaver for gardening around here.
     
  5. johnnyjumpup

    johnnyjumpup Active Member

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    Location:
    West Kootenay BC Canada
    Hi, again,

    That book sounds interesting and it's always a good idea to see a whole bunch of possibilities before starting so you can narrow down the look that really appeals to you thus saving yourself a lot of time and money and hard work. It looks like you will be starting with a clean slate.

    Also, you live in Victoria, a gardening climate the envy of all Canadians, no snow! (usually). Look around, starting on your side of the street, see what others have done, what you like and what you don't. Figure out which way your garden faces and the type of soil then start walking, get on your bike or in your car and drive around the city. Take your camera. Go on garden tours.

    Because of the milder climate and lack of snow you will need good bones in your garden to carry throughout the year - attractive shrubs with good form, leaf colour, seasonal blossoms, a small attractive tree (Japanese maple springs to mind), perhaps broadleafed evergreens as well as small conifers like the Alberta spruce and the bird's nest spruce and reliable things like hostas and other shapely perennials. That also includes hardscaping and attractive trellises or screens. Then you can play with colour throughout the season with bulbs, other perennials, annuals, vines, succulents, pots, troughs, etc.

    Can you tell I'm snowbound here and will be for months?!!
     
  6. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    How about something different - do yo need that skinny sidewalk coming straight from the door?

    What if you removed it, and used another sidewalk or step stones and angled the path from where the steps are angled?
     

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